The Adirondacks

The Adirondack Mountains of New York, and the majestic High peaks, are a haven for outdoor and indoor recreation of all kinds. Hike the nation’s largest trail system, with destinations ranging from mountain summits to isolated waterfalls to forest glades. Canoe, kayak, swim, and fish our 3,000 lakes and ponds and over 1,500 miles of rivers and streams. Discover winter recreation at its finest. Pamper yourself at top-ranked resorts and spas, or camp with your family under the stars. Visit world-class museums and colonial forts, and sample local specialities at a farmers’ market. – Visit Adirondacks – Official Travel Information for the Adirondack Region of New York State.

In an area larger than many of the surrounding states you can find a multitude of attractions. From quaint villages with roots in the birth of our nation to unbounded natural settings, the diversity of the region is everywhere. With hundreds of miles of hiking trails, touring roads, and river passages to explore, there is something for everyone in the Adirondacks. There isn’t a month or a season when there isn’t something to do or see in these mountains.

The regional tourism folks have so much to be proud of they have divided the area up into eight regions:

  • Adirondack Coast
  • Adirondack Lakes
  • Adirondack Seaway
  • Adirondacks – Tughill
  • Adirondack Wild
  • Old Forge Region
  • Lake George Region
  • Lake Placid Region

Over the course of the coming months we will explore each of these regions in more depth, but for the purposes of this piece we will summarize the areas many attractions.

The Mountains

Located in the northernmost part of New York state the Adirondack Mountains run through Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Saint Lawrence, Saratoga, Warren and Washington Counties.

While most geographers (and this site) include the Adirondacks in the Appalachian Mountains, they are geologically more related to the Laurentian Mountains of Canada. They are bounded to the east and separated from the Green Mountains of Vermont by Lake Champlain and Lake George. To the south they are bound by the Mohawk Valley and to the west it is the Tug Hill Plateau across the Black River. The Saint Lawrence River is the northern boundary of the mountains, the state , and the country.

The State Park

The Adirondack State Park is the largest state park in the continental US. Comprising some 6.1 million acres (over 9,000 sq.mi.) it is about the size of Vermont. About half of the land within the park is privately owned.

The Adirondack Park was created in 1892 by the State of New York amid concerns for the water and timber resources of the region. Today the Park is the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States, greater in size than Yellowstone, Everglades, Glacier, and Grand Canyon National Park combined. The boundary of the Park encompasses approximately 6 million acres, nearly half of which belongs to all the people of New York State and is constitutionally protected to remain “forever wild” forest preserve. The remaining half of the Park is private land which includes settlements, farms, timber lands, businesses, homes, and camps. About the Adirondack Park.

There are efforts ongoing to reintroduce some of the native wildlife lost during the years of exploitation during the past centuries. Included in these efforts are the American beaver, the fisher, the American marten and the Canadian lynx. Efforts have also been made to reintroduce the moose and the osprey. Not all of these efforts have met with success yet.

Population

Since 1900 the  permanent population within the park boundaries has grown from around 100,000 to it’s  present day size of about 130,000. This population lives mainly in the villages and hamlets spread through the park. There are an additional 200,000 residents who are seasonal. Added to these numbers are the estimated 7 – 10 million people who visit the park each year.

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